Roundup Day 8 (D8): OAR Thrills and Short Track Spills on Busy Day 8
Day 8 saw an incredible hockey display from the Olympic Athletes of Russia while short track slips created some dramatic finishes in the Gangneung Ice Arena. OAR 4 - 0 USA © Getty Images The Olympic Athletes of Russia gave the crowd in the Gangneung Ice Arena their money's worth tonight in a high scoring game against the USA. Former NHL star Ilya Kovalchuk scored two goals, giving his team a bye to the next round. Speaking after the game, winger Ryan Stoa said,"I don't really have words for it. We just have to keep working, getting to pucks. We need more guys, more traffic there. If we don't have that, he (the opposition goaltender) can see everything and he was kicking out some rebounds, we could not finish them." Girard Leaps Clear © Getty Images Canada's Samuel Girard steered clear of some late lap mayhem to steal the Olympic short-track speedskating 1,000 metres gold medal on Saturday. With a crash taking out three of five skaters as the pack entered the final lap, Girard held off John-Henry Krueger of the United States, who took the silver while South Korea's Seo Yira was quickest to get to his feet to secure a bronze. Second Chance for Choi © Getty Images Republic of Korea's Choi Minjeong powered her way to a gold medal in the Olympic women’s short-track speedskating 1,500 meters on Saturday, atoning for a heartbreaking disqualification in the 500m final. Choi, the world record holder in the event, broke away from the pack with four laps to go, crossing ahead of China's Li Jinyu and Canada's Kim Boutin who collected her second bronze to go along with the one she grabbed in the 500m. With two finals and the prospect of Korean skaters winning both gold, the excitement inside a soldout Gangneung Ice Arena was electric, the tension building with each heat as the crowd, which included South Korean President Moon Jae-in and first lady Kim Jung-sook, exploded in cheers each time a Korean crossed first. The final served as redemption for Choi who was denied a medal in the 500m on Tuesday when she was disqualified for interference after a photo finish with gold medal winner Arianna Fontana of Italy. Shooting Accuracy Assists Kuzmina © Getty Images After two silver-medal finishes in the pursuit and individual races, biathlete Anastasiya Kuzmina of Slovakia finally got her gold with a superb shooting performance to win the women's 12.5km mass start in a time of 35 minutes 23 seconds on Saturday. Darya Domracheva of Belarus came in second to secure silver, 18.8 seconds behind the winner, while Norway's Tiril Eckhoff took the bronze medal, 27.7 seconds after Kuzmina. The 33-year-old Kuzmina has had plenty of success since the biathlon events began in Pyeongchang, but with a high level of competition, it was not until the mass start that she managed to make it to the top step of the podium. With the 30 athletes split into 10 groups of three, Kuzmina started in the second row, battling for position all the way to the first shoot. Her accuracy on the range while others missed laid the foundations for her victory, but despite showing nerves of steel on a chilly night, eventually even she got rattled. Having built up a considerable lead, Kuzmina arrived at the fourth shoot and made her first four shots before taking a very long pause and then missing her final effort as the rest of the field skied in towards the range. Despite being diverted to ski a 150m penalty lap because of that miss, she stayed in the lead and surged away to the finish line, waving a Slovakian flag proudly as she crossed it. Super Gold for Ledecka © Getty Images Czechs celebrated their nation's first Alpine Olympic gold medal on Saturday after Ester Ledecka's shock win in the Super-G with newspaper headlines trumpeting the victory and television news giving the soft-spoken 22-year-old old blanket coverage. Ledecka produced one of the biggest upsets of the Winter Olympics when she tore down Jeongseon slope in bib number 26 to win the race on borrowed skis. Ledecka, who was skiing down in 26th position, is better known as a snowboard parallel giant slalom world champion, and will compete in that event in PyeongChang next week. She is the first Czech to have won that event at the FIS Snowboard World Cup, but she was not expected to be among the contenders in the Alpine super-G on 17 February. She took gold by just 0.01 seconds, despite making two errors. At the bottom of the course, Ledecka stood frozen, staring at the clock in disbelief at her time of 1:21.11. Finland Find the Net Seven Times against Sweden © Getty Images Finland have a place in the semi-finals of the Olympic women's ice hockey tournament after their comfortable win of 7-2 over Sweden at the Kwandong Hockey Centre on Day 8. Finland will next play against the United States on Day 10 for a place in the final. The US beat Finland 3-1 in the group stages earlier in the tournament. Sweden knocked Finland out at the quarter-final stage of the Sochi Olympics four years ago, but today there was never any hope of history repeating itself in Kwandong. The Swedes rallied again with a breakaway goal of their own scored by Rebecca Stenberg and assisted by Maja Nylen Persson in the dying seconds of the period. Lizzy Yarnold Clinches Second Gold in Late Night Skeleton Win © Getty Images Lizzy Yarnold of Team GB has another gold medal for her trophy cabinet after coming out on top of the Saturday skeleton showdown. She beat Jacqueline Loelling of Germany and team mate Laura Deas with a time of 51.46. This is not the first success Team GB has had in women’s skeleton. Yarnold had a golden run in Sochi and joins the ranks of silverware contributors such as Alex Coomber (bronze) in 2002, Shelley Rudman (Silver) in 2006, Amy Williams (gold) in 2010. Norway Victorious in Cross Country Relay © Getty Images Marit Bjoergen skied a triumphant final leg to write her name in the Olympic record books, delivering gold for Norway in the women's 4x5km relay on Saturday and joining countryman Ole Einar Bjoerndalen as the most successful winter Olympian of all time on 13 medals. Sweden took silver, two seconds behind, after powerful performances by Charlotte Kalla, Ebba Andersson and Stina Nilsson, while the Olympic Athletes from Russia came third to take the bronze, 43.3 seconds behind the winners. Bjoergen got the glory but Norway's win was firmly rooted in a stunning third leg by Olympic 10km freestyle champion Ragnhild Haga, who erased a gap of almost half a minute to tee up Bjoergen for victory. The Swedes also had to overcome a big gap to the leaders after a slow first leg by Anna Haag but Kalla, who took Olympic gold in the women's skiathlon, charged around her two laps to put them back in contention. Led by superb runs from Natalia Nepryaeva and Yulia Belorukova, Olympic Athletes of Russia made the early running but when the Nordic nations upped the tempo they gradually fell away and had to be content with a bronze medal.